Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 10 April 2022 – The Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam laid the foundation stone for its state-of-the-art cancer care centre, which will serve as a key hub for the innovative Tanzania Comprehensive Cancer Project (TCCP). The Project, launched by the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) in January 2020, has the goal of reducing cancer morbidity and mortality in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza. In addition to providing 1.7 million people with better screening, early diagnosis and quality treatment, the new centre will support the establishment of basic cancer care services in 100 public primary-care health facilities in the targeted regions.
Like many LMICs, Tanzania struggles with a ballooning number of cancer cases across the country, and limited resources to treat them comprehensively. In response, TCCP is working to improve and expand the existing health infrastructure for oncology; build the capacity of staff at participating institutions; strengthen community cancer awareness and engagement; and develop a joint research agenda amongst project collaborators to inform future programming and investments.
This cutting-edge cancer care centre at Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam is valued at TZS 250 billion (US$ 107.5 million), with an expected completion date of March 2024.
The foundation laying ceremony was attended by Chief Guest, Minister of Health Honourable Ummy Ally Mwalimu and Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Aga Khan Health Services, alongside government officials, diplomatic missions, development partners, healthcare stakeholders and dignitaries.
“We know that non-communicable diseases, including cancer, affect us all,” said Honourable Minister Ummy Ally Mwalimu. “We all know people whose lives have been cut short by cancer. It also causes significant losses to the nation because the disease reduces the workforce…”
The Government has allocated land surrounding the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam to ensure the institution can expand the scope of its cancer services and citizens can easily access much-needed care. This expansion is expected to reduce patient wait times and delays at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute, a key partner in the TCCP. Also, once the new centre is open, a considerable portion of cancer patients who currently cannot afford treatment will be able to secure welfare support to treat their disease.
“Today’s ceremony marks a critical project objective of enhancing comprehensive cancer care facilities in the country,” said Princess Zahra Aga Khan. “Statistics from the United Nations Cancer Research Organization show that there are 42,000 new cancer cases every year in Tanzania, with a high mortality rate of over 28,000 deaths per year. Almost 75 percent of the cases are diagnosed at a late stage. This is a major challenge that affects survival rates.”
“AKHS,T’s continued growth over nine decades is a strong testimony to our commitment to health care and development in the country.”
About the Tanzania Comprehensive Cancer Project (TCCP)